Angels Watching Over Me
By Julia Durango
About the book:
What better way to reassure a young child than with the words of a soft, soothing spiritual exuberantly expanded by author Julia Durango and intricately illuminated by award-winning artist Elisa Kleven.
Ask your own little angel:
Questions before reading the story:
What is your favorite time of day? What is your favorite thing to do during the day? If you could go anywhere and see anyone where would you go? What would you do?
During and after questions:
1. Which angel is your favorite in the book? Why? What kind of angel follows you throughout your day?
2. Do you also fly like the boy in the story? What things do you see on your journeys?
3. What time of day does the story begin? When does it end? Why do you think the author wrote it like this?
4. Who does the boy play with and listen to? Do you think he has a good imagination? What do you like to imagine?
5. Which animal would you most like to take home for a while? Why? How was it created?
6. The boy eats what kind of fruit during his day? Which fruit is your favorite one to eat?
7. Describe the angels in the book. Describe your angel. Describe the angels that each member of your family might have.
8. Do you think the colors in the story are soft or bright? Are the pictures loud or soft? What makes you say this?
9. Name the animals you see.
10. Which set of words is your favorite? Why? Which picture? Why?
Julia uses added verses onto one of her favorite songs to create this new story. Can you write a new stanza to your favorite nursery rhyme, spiritual or lullaby? Sing it together.
Personification is a big word that just mean letting something that’s not human seem human. Julia Durango does this several times in the book by allowing the sun, tree, wind, and clouds all speak. Let the things in your own yard “speak” to you. What do they say?
Using a variety of materials create a collage inspired by Elisa Kleven’s art based on your favorite lullaby or rhyme. Decide whether you want to use a similar palette (group of colors in a family) as ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME or whether you’d like to create a new one inspired by your song.
“All Night, All Day” is a beloved song thought to originate in the American South during the time of slavery. Explore other African-American spirituals that helped people endure the hardships of slavery:
Slave Spirituals and the Jubilee Singers by Michael L. Cooper
All Night, All Day: A Child’s First Book of African-American Spirituals by Ashley Bryan
The Long Road to Freedom: An Anthology of Black Music
This guide was created by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, a reading specialist and author of Reaching for Sun from Bloomsbury. Visit her website to find hundreds of guides to children’s literature.